The main goal of this series is to name and identify the most common injuries in the world of sport and fitness. It will also provide exercises and drills to help prevent them.
This article is devoted to the hamstrings.
Hamstrings: a group of tendons contracted to 3 back thigh muscles. They act upon to joints, the hip (extension) and the knee (flex and inwardly rotate the lower leg when the knee is bend). The hamstrings are also acting as an antagonist to quadriceps.
A hamstring injury is very painful and may take many months for full recovery. In some cases, it may even need chirurgical intervention.
Pulled or torn hamstrings are common among the wide range of sports and occur during explosive movements like sprints, jumping and lunging.
One of the most affected group and prone to hamstring injury are football players.
The UEFA Injury Study, conducted over 7 years (seasons 2001-2008, 23 top European teams, 566 000 h of exposure), shows that ‘’the single most common injury subtype was thigh strain, representing 17% of all injuries’’.
Average ‘’team of 25 can thus expect about 10 thigh muscle strains each season, 7 of them affecting the hamstring muscles and 3 the quadriceps’’.
7 pulled hamstring per team per season?! It is quite a lot! It may explain why football coaches go grey so early 🙂
So what are the main reasons for pulled hamstrings?
Let’s have a look at the list below.
6 main reasons for hamstrings injury:
- Overtraining and muscle fatigue – simply doing too much too quickly without enough breaks in between session
- Poor flexibility and tight hips area, with hip flexor being woe number one – When a hip flexor is too tight it prevents the full extension in the hips. Glutes cannot do their job and hamstrings need to take over. This leads to overworked hamstrings.
- Weak glutes and poor muscle strength – There are two hip extensors: glutes and hamstring. Weak glutes simple cannot do their job and hamstrings works double hard.
- Muscle imbalances between front and back of the thigh hamstrings work as.
- No warm-up
- Hamstring injury history
How to prevent hamstring injury?
- Always remember about good throughout warm up before any vigorous activity.
- Make sure you are giving your muscles enough time to recover.
- Focus on stretching tight hip areas, especially hip flexors
- Strengthening weak gluteal muscles.
- Do decompression drills after every workout.